Thursday, October 02, 2008

President Parker's Voice Message


This morning DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Michelle Rhee held a press conference to introduce her Plan ‘B” alternative to contract negotiations. Unfortunately, the Chancellor’s plan only focuses on implementing punitive measures against teachers, rather than focusing on providing quality resources and support for all teachers and students. The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) is not opposed to our members being held accountable; however, others, including the Chancellor, must be held accountable for providing quality support and resources, as well as, an educational learning environment that is conducive to quality teaching and learning.

At a time when DCPS still has vacancies, over-sized classes, new principals who have not had proper training, a chaotic special education system, as well as, unsafe and chaotic learning environments in many of our schools, it is clearly counterproductive for the chancellor to pursue a Plan “B” objective that is designed merely to fire teachers.

The WTU supports quality teaching and learning in all schools and believes that all of our teachers should be paid a high rate of compensation that is representative of the hard work that our members are asked to perform each day. However, as your president, I will not support a tentative agreement that will allow principals, central administrators or the Chancellor to arbitrarily and capriciously abuse or terminate our teachers without any appeal or due process rights.

What is needed in DCPS is not a personnel plan for firing teachers, but a comprehensive education plan that supports quality teaching and learning.

The WTU and DCPS have not yet officially declared a negotiations impasse; however, the WTU negotiations team will meet over the few several days and consult with our attorneys and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) advisors in determining next steps. We will keep our members updated.

You can view a copy of this voice message at your WTU email account.

Thank you for supporting the Washington Teachers’ Union.

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